Photograph of a sculpture by American artist Nancy Elizabeth Prophet (1890–1960), the first African American graduate of Rhode Island School of Design.
Rhode Island College: Nancy Elizabeth Prophet Collection; Undated. Photograph printed in France. Inscribed on reverse by artist: “N.E. Prophet” Likely a portrait of Prophet’s husband, Francis Ford, who joined her in Paris between c.1923–1926. Within weeks of her arrival in Paris (c.1921–1922) she began work on a clay bust that she later carved in wood while studying under noted sculptor Victor Joseph Ambroise Ségoffin. An undated diary excerpt may serve to reference this. Prophet writes of regaining her strength after two months of bed rest following her arrival in Paris: “As soon as I could stand up I went to work...I remember...how my arms felt as I swung them up to put on a great piece of clay.” A period of three months was to have elapsed, after which Prophet writes, “I cut the bust in wood and the following year it was accepted in the Salon d’Automne, 1924.”